Of 60 competing ensembles from across the globe, the Risus Quartet took the 2021 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition Grand Prize and Gold Medal in the Senior String Division at the May 2021 virtual competition. Officially founded in 2020 in South Korea by four passionate young musicians, the ensemble’s name, Risus, in Latin means “laugh,” and they adopted the name in the spirit of wanting to bring joy and laughter to audiences.
Its members, Haeni Lee and Jieun Yoo (violins), Mary Eunkyung Chang (viola), and Bobae Lee (cello) graduated from Seoul National University with a passion for chamber music. After graduation, members also studied at Yale School of Music and the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. They’ve since begun their professional studies at The University of Texas at Austin Butler School in the College of Fine Arts, enriching their vision as musicians. The quartet was trained remotely over the past year by Butler School Violin professors Sandy Yamamoto and Daniel Ching of the Miro Quartet.
Making their Presenting Series debut is part of a busy schedule of national and international performances and competitions for the Risus Quartet. This October, the Fischoff Double Gold Tour will find Risus Quartet on the road following the September tour by Senior Division Winds/Brass winners Aero Quartet. The Double Gold Tour brings concerts and educational programs to more than 5,000 children, youth, and adults throughout the Midwest.
Also on the horizon is Trondheim Internal Chamber Music Competition September 21–25 in Trondheim, Norway, and the Bartók World Competition in Budapest, Hungary, October 25–31. Good luck, Risus Quartet!
The ensemble is currently a resident of the Busan Classical Development Council and the Samick Cultural Foundation. Driven by curiosity, they constantly research string quartet literature and play various genres from Baroque to modern music.